Five years ago (this Saturday), after 9 horrendous months of pregnancy and 25 excruciating hours of labor, I gave birth to my first baby. And I can tell you two things.

It’s been the hardest five years of my life.

And I love this beautiful boy more than I can say.

Yesterday I went to his preschool, where they had an early birthday celebration for him. All the other kids sat in a circle, with a lit candle on the floor in the middle (signifying the sun), and Teacher fastened a cape and crown on Cameron, and then he walked around the candle slowly, carrying a globe (signifying that he was the center of the universe, or something – I may have missed the exact explanation), and the kids all sang to him.

And my boy had the most glowing expression on his face – part solemnity, part embarrassment, part excitement – and his cheeks were flushed in red patches, and he kept glancing over at me, where I was sitting on the floor behind the other kids, and I was smiling so big it felt like my face was going to break.

I was also crying. He often has this effect on me.

National Poetry Month is coming to a (largely unheralded) end, and since it coincides with my little guy’s birthday, here is a poem I scribbled out when he was 9 months old.

(And here’s a picture of us, when he was about that age. I apologize for his protruding tongue.)

The poem isn’t great. The boy is.



He sits on the floor
banging a remote control on the ground
a miniature, cherubic thief

He just got into my purse
and pulled a cord from the wall
and crumpled some leftover wrapping paper
He grabs everything that’s not his:
books/magazines/photo albums
a milk jug from the recyclables

He is a seasoned robber now
having taken so much from me already
my figure/career/paycheck
my energy/solitude/sleep
every second of my free time

Some of these things I can retrieve
in theory
once he:
sleeps through the night
feeds himself
stops breastfeeding, so I can exercise
(once I have the strength to exercise!)
once he outgrows diapers
once he goes off to school…

Once he has his own life

He discards the remote
leans back on his fat, diapered bottom
fixes his sky-blue eyes on me
And with smooth, pink gums
he flashes that toothless grin

Yes, in time I may recover each thing he’s stolen
save one –

my heart


16 thoughts on “Thief

  1. ahh… I love it! I mostly love the love that explodes out of you when you gush about your babies….it’s so God given.
    And I can’t believe he’s 5!!

  2. I really liked that!

    I also like that you recognize good writing when you see it and are kind enough to share your opinions on who we should be reading. There is one writer that you consistently seem to undervalue though…. you! You may not think yourself a poet, but that was excellent.

    Happy Birthday to Cam!

  3. oh i love that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i cannot believe baby boy will be 5. that’s so amazing!! i am missing everything! 😦 but please give him mine and jordan’s love!

  4. Mama -how WONDERFULLY you’ve captured what it is to lose your whole heart to a boy.

    My Very Heart – whose name is really Matthew – will turn 6 in September, and every day, a part of me grieves the loss of these moments that make up his life, even as he lives them.

    Happy Birthday to your darling Thief.

  5. Cathy, again, you made me cry–what an emotional poem and so well written–you have a wonderful gift! Thanks for sharing it with us!!

  6. Loved the poem. You’re a good mama. I’m a mother of a relatively new mother myself – we’re coming up this month on my one and only granddaughter’s first birthday in which the sun and the moon are supposed to stop whatever it is they do and bounce about the universe or otherwise acknowledge the occasion. Ha! I’m sending your poem to my daughter. 🙂

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